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Tagicakibau keeps Irish in touch with the top

27 Sep 2009
Tagicakibau keeps Irish in touch with the top

Sailosi Tagicakibau crossed twice as London Irish climbed to second in the GUINNESS PREMIERSHIP with victory in a frenetic derby against Wasps.

The Samoan took his tally to five tries from three games, showing his predatory instincts either side of half-time.

Fly-half Ryan Lamb contributed 15 points as Irish produced another all-action display to underline their status as the GUINNESS PREMIERSHIPS’s great entertainers.

They started the day as the league’s leading try scorers after producing successive bonus-point victories over Gloucester and Leeds, but Wasps were never going to be as accommodating.

Serge Betsen’s side arrived at the Madejski Stadium with a 100 per cent record and although lacking Irish’s electrifying ability to attack from deep, they had plenty of ambition.

For all their endeavour, however, their only try came from referee Dave Pearson, who correctly went under the posts for Adam Thompstone’s illegal tackle on Dominic Waldouck.

Danny Cipriani kicked the remainder of the points as Wasps were beaten, leaving Saracens as the only team with four victories from four matches.

They lacked Irish’s clinical touch, which was in evidence during a flying start that saw the Exiles cross with just two minutes on the clock.

Attempting to collect a chip through, Wasps full-back Lachlan Mitchell dithered for too long and was bundled into touch in goal.

Centre Seilala Mapusua’s muscular run caused confusion in the Wasps defence at the ensuing scrum and Irish pounced, Peter Hewat arriving to create the overlap before feeding Tagicakibau the scoring pass.

Cipriani landed a long-range penalty, missed two more and then added a second from in front of the posts as Wasps began to settle.

The high tempo continued as Lamb ripped the ball from Waldouck and sprinted free with Thompstone and Mapusua continuing a move that was concluded by Lamb’s drop goal.

Two penalties from the Irish fly-half followed and although kicking was dominating the scoreboard, the match was proving an thrilling spectacle.

The Exiles’ intention was to move possession wide as early as quickly as possible, even if that meant fly-hacking the ball backwards.

One such moment sent Tagicakibau flying into space before the Samoan winger was eventually halted by Mitchell.

Wasps lock Richard Birkett was sin-binned for killing the ball but Irish could make little headway in his absence.

Cipriani and Lamb swapped penalties shortly into a second half that came alive when Wasps were denied a certain try because of an illegal tackle from Thompstone.

A quickly-taken line-out fell to Waldouck who hacked ahead but just as the England prospect but was about to gather and score, he was taken out by Thompstone.

Pearson awarded the penalty try, converted by Cipriani, and sent Thompstone to the sin bin.

Irish moved 23-16 ahead with a long-range drop-goal by Hewat and a penalty from Lamb, tightening the screw with some physical forward play.

The decisive blow was struck in the 62nd minute when centre Ben Jacobs saw his pass to Paul Sackey intercepted by Tagicakibau, who made light work of the race to the line.

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